For increased privacy and to avoid law enforcement, online markets that sell drugs or other illicit substances have begun to utilize custom Android apps.
These apps enable shop customers to order and communicate with vendors. They can also provide courier instructions for delivery.
Analysts at Resecurity noticed this new trend around the start of the third quarter 2022. This is believed to be in response to the high-profile crackdowns on darknet markets last year, including Hydra Market.
Hydra, with 19,000 sellers registered and 17 millions customers around the world was the market leader in drugs sales. The and created a vacuum.
Android is the new home for drug dealers
Resecurity today reports that several smaller players tried to profit from Hydra’s sudden death and seize parts of Hydra’s abandoned user base.
These are seven notable instances that have released Android App APKs to customers for them to use to get to their services and shops:
The M-Club CMS engine is used by all seven above to create their APKs. They likely also utilized the same developer services.
Resecurity warned that some of the mobile apps were recently observed by experts who seized devices from law enforcement. They belong to numerous suspects in drug trafficking or other illegal activities.
The report explains that mobile apps can be used to send information about drug orders and provide geo coordinates for the parcel left by the courier.
To prevent indexing, such information can be transmitted as an image. […] Notes may include details about how deep the package has been hidden beneath the ground, or other useful information that can be used to locate it.
This information sharing can occur on multiple applications. It creates fragmentation that limits law enforcement’s ability to follow up and make arrests.
Resecurity is confident that most of the new marketplaces in 2023 will have an Android app. This will gradually replace privacy-risking forums or open market platforms.
New big players
Instead of focusing on Android apps, the most important drug marketplace platforms are not yet adopting them. They instead concentrate on their new battle for supremacy in this field which could give one of the major players a monopoly comparable to Hydra’s.
Resecurity reports that the Hydra shutdown was most beneficial to RuTor and WayAway as well as Legalizer, OMG!, Solaris and Nemesis.
These markets have welcomed over 795,000 users in the last summer.
This is an extremely risky time for those who buy counterfeit products, low-quality ingredients or anything else.